Juve peaking in time for Shakhtar test
Published : 02 Oct 2012 03:49:05
Serie A champions Juventus will be looking to continue their impressive unbeaten streak when they host Champions League opponents Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
The Ukrainians come to Turin boasting a 13-game winning streak in all competitions having beaten Danish side FC Nordsjaelland 2-0 at home to go top of Group E two weeks ago.
Juve centre-back Giorgio Chiellini says they won't be taking the visitors lightly.
"Shakhtar are a strong side and also underestimated. I don't think we were lucky to have drawn them in our group," said Chiellini.
"We want to beat them but we also respect them because they have several Brazilian players who could play in the big clubs in Europe."
Juventus fans, however, will be confident the Turin giants can maintain their purple patch.
While Juve Antonio Conte continues to serve a 10-month touchline ban for his implication in a sports-betting affair while coach of Siena, his caretaker coach Massimo Carrera is doing a fine job at the helm.
Under Carrera, Juve have extended their impressive unbeaten streak to 45 games, going back to a defeat against Parma in May 2011.
The only team so far able to keep pace with the Old Lady of Turin in Italy's Serie A is Napoli, who are also unbeaten after six games and sit second on 16 points.
On Saturday Juve underlined their title credentials with a 4-1 thrashing of Roma. As well as picking up the points, Carrera and Conte were buoyed by the return to form of midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, who opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a sumptuous free kick.
Arturo Vidal, who scored on his Champions League debut when Juve held Chelsea 2-2 at Stamford Bridge, made it 2-0 in the 16th minute from the penalty spot.
The Chilean international then provided the assist for Alessandro Matri to sneak in behind Roma's defence to put Juve 3-0 up in the 19th minute.
Matri made way later in the match for the 'Atomic Ant' Sebastian Giovinco, who made it four for Juve in the 90th minute.
Although Juve's coaching tandem were delighted with the performance, perhaps the most poignant tribute came from Roma coach Zdenek Zeman.
"Juventus were superior to us in every department," said Zeman. "We worked hard for this (match) but what can you do when you concede three goals in seven minutes?"
With his trusty 3-5-2 tactical formation apparently holding firm at home and in Europe, Carrera's biggest dilemma for Tuesday is which of his talented forwards to use.
Mirko Vucinic has been Juve's stand-out performer so far this season. The big question is who joins the big Montenegrin striker up front.
Juve are spoiled for choice, with Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella -- who scored the equaliser against Chelsea and two against Chievo last week -- and Matri all available, as well as Nicklas Bendtner.
Shakhtar believe in their chances, and although attacking full-back Olexandr Kucher knows that leaving Turin with even a share of the points will be hard he says they are ready to do battle.
"Let's not forget that it will be an away match against the Italian champions," he told www.uefa.com.
"The most admirable thing about Juventus is their stability. They are unbeaten in Serie A for a very long time.
"However, I don't want it to seem like we are scared. We are ready to fight, as we want a positive result."